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Report on dash mount repair

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amblerman
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Year and Model: 1999 S70
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Report on dash mount repair

Post by amblerman » Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:51 pm

Hi Folks,

Here's a report on how I repaired my dash. I acquired a 1999 S70 with 110K on it back in late 2016. This was my first Volvo and although the car was in generally good shape, the dash did rattle a bit. At that point I had no idea where that dash rattle would eventually lead. After two lout CRACK! sounds over the winter and spring, I decided it was time to fix the darn thing.

This report will cover how I repaired my dash. It will not cover disassembly as there are plenty of good guides for that.
For example, Robert's fantastic videos on youtube (search on "Volvo dash removal"). I used those extensively.
I also used this thread as a general overview.
http://volvospeed.com/vs_forum/topic/68 ... l-writeup/

So, here's the info. I hope it's useful to someone.

Dash Removal
As mentioned I'm not going into details here. However, I do have a couple of tips.
I want to stress two things Robert covered in his videos.
1) Robert mentioned covering your shift knob to prevent damage. I didn't do this and I wish I had. I really took a divot out of my manual shifter knob. I don't even know how this happened but I have a chunk missing on the side that faces the dash.
2) Robert also mentioned taking off the clock spring unit on the steering column. I thought about leaving that on but then he warned that if left on , you'd probably hit it and crack the mounts. I believed him and in looking at it, it's really quite fragile. If you do this job, definitely take this off.
3) To access the two firewall to dash bolts closest to the driver's side, just take the whole windshield wiper assembly out. It's held in by two 10mm bolts and then just slides out (assuming you've removed the wipers of course.). This wiper assembly comes out easier than any other car I've had. the 2 mins it takes to come out is way easier than trying to work around it.

What I found
Once out, I discovered that all 4 of my mount points had failed completely. two had failed by breaking in half and two has also cracked at the dash itself.

Attached are the pictures of my failed mount points. I just realized none of my pictures show the square nuts. I didn't lose those. I just didn't put them in the pictures.

As you can see several parts of my mounts had broken into many pieces. From the factory the mount points are wrapped in an anti-squeak/fuzzy tape. That tape is the only reason I was able to recover so many pieces of my mounts. The pieces were still stuck to the tape. In fact, when I first removed the dash, I initially thought two of my mounts were ok because the tape was still holding them together. It was only after i removed the tape that I learned how intensive the damage was.

What is not shown in the pictures is that two of the mounts had cracked where they attached to the main dash tube as well.

In preparation for the repair, I cleaned everything with rubbing alcohol. That was the only cleaning solution I used. I also scuffed up the surrounding area with some 100 grit sandpaper. I don't think this was actually necessary for my repair method though.
4 broken points after cleaning up:
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broken1.png
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Repair
I read a lot of different repair methods. The repair method I used however is slightly different variation on what other people have done. The first thing I noticed when I had my dash apart was that the part in question was marked ABS. My initial plan was to use some epoxy to repair the pieces and then use traditional fiberglass to add support. However, in my research there were a lot of people out there talking about how hard it is to get things to bond to ABS.

One thing people agreed on though is that regular plumbing ABS cement works great to repair it. Not the ABS/PVC/CPVC combo cement but the regular ABS only cement.
Like this stuff:
abs3.png
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It actually took a bit to find this locally. Even dedicated plumbing supply houses didn't stock it. Why? Because PA plumbing code doesn't require any dedicated ABS pipes. Therefore they don't stock the ABS only cement. I was able to locate it in stock in a Lowes that was about 30 mins away. I could have ordered it but I needed it immediately.

I looked up the materials safety sheet on this and it's essentially ABC plastic dissolved in acetone. think of it as liquid ABS and it will melt and re-bond broken ABS plastic.

My first step was to use this cement to rebuild all the broken pieces. That went easy. All I had to do with touch each edge with some cement and hold the pieces together for about 15 seconds. I was now left with pieces I could bond back on the broken mounts.

Before I bonded back on the broken pieces, I fixed the cracked dash tube. The way I did that is to complete break the the mounts off so I could expose the entire crack. unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of this part. What I did was grab the loose mount and bend it backwards so it would tear off the dash tube itself. This left me with a nice clean, and gaping hole. But it also gave me great clean surface area for the cement. I dabbed on cement, pressed the pieces together and held in place for about 15 second.

Once I had the pieces cemented back together, they looked like this. The glossy tar looking stuff is the newly hardened ABS cement. This looks a bit messy but it it was only the first coat and was only meant to hold everything together.
fix2.png
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After I let things set for about 30 mins, I was confident that the mounts were reattached. However, seeing how they were supported, it didn't surprise me that they failed in the first place. As people have discovered, the main dash mounts are attached to a thin hollow tube and have little reinforcement to begin with. Several people attached metal straps and used epoxy to provide reinforcement.

I started with some epoxy putty but I used it just to provide some internal strength. I packed the epoxy putty inside the mounts. I had to make sure the putty would not interfere with the bolts. I used the "All Crafts" brand epoxy putty I picked up from a plumbing supply house and I chose this one because it did claim to stick to ABS. If the guy at the plumbing supply house hadn't told me how useful he personally found the stuff, I probably would have used JB Weld or something similar.
putty.png
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This seemed to provided some internal rigidity for the mounts.

Next on the agenda was to make the whole structure stronger.
For that I used fiberglass cloth. However I did not use the resin typically used with fiberglass. Instead I just used more PVC cement.
The PVC cement had no problems wetting/soaking into the fiberglass cloth. I started with thin strips to wrap the mount itself. I'd dab some cement on the mount and a little on the fiberglass cloth. I'd then put the cloth on the mount and then smooth it out with my fingers. It's top off the fiberglass with some more ABS Cement to cover any areas I had missed.

I wore medium medium weight (dark blue ones) nitrile gloves and I did not feel the acetone at all. This allowed me to smooth out the fiberglass and make sure there were no creases or bubbles.

Once the thin sheets had set, I started laying down larger pieces of fiberglass cloth.

Here are some pictures showing the mounts close up and the size of the area I covered in the glass cloth.
On the first day, I probably laid down about 2 layers of cloth as well as used several thin strips for strategic placement around the mount and on corners. I could have done the whole job in one day easily but I got a late start on the first day.

I thought I had taken more pictures but alas I didn't. And I'm not taking my dash out again to take more photos. :-)


fiberclose2.png
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When I first started this process, I was a little worried that the ABS/fiberglass combo wouldn't work out. After letting it set for an hour it felt dry but still had flex in it as if it was still a bit soft. I believe this was due to there being some residual acetone still in the cement. I let it set outside over night and in the morning, I was pleased to find that it was now quite rigid. On the second day, I just repeated the process and laid down some larger sheets (6 inches wide) that spanned both sides of each mount. I wanted to create a wide base of strength for the mounts. In the end I think I went about 4 inches to the left and right of each mount. I also put fiberglass in the front and behind each mount. In fact , each mount ended up being encased in fiberglass. Only the bolt hole was exposed in the end.

The ABS cement performed like I had hoped and I seem to be left with fiberglass reinforced ABS.
The mounts are all much stronger now. They have no flex at all the the overall structure is a lot better.

So far I'm very happy with the way it turned out.

Assembly and conclusions.

When I went to put my dash in , I ran into an issue where the two outer most dash bolts wouldn't go back in. I feared that maybe I had put too many sheets of fiberglass on the mounts and the bolt holes weren't aligned. To test this. I clipped off the end of a q-tip and hot glued it to the end of one of the dash bolts. I dabbed the end of the q-tip in white out and slide the bolt in. I then took off the dash and had a look. Sure enough, the white paint showed that the mount was sitting too high due to my reinforcement job. Upon closer inspection, it was really only due to the end mounts having an extra support webbing built into it. I had covered that in fiberglass and it was creating a high point. I took a grinding attachment for a dremel and shaved down the high spots in about 30 seconds. After confirming fitment, I put some butyl tape on the mount points and some other points on the frame and put my dash in . The butyl tape was for cushioning and to prevent squeaks.

Re-assembly didn't take too long but of course I ended up with an extra T-25 screw. I have no idea where that goes.... I've checked every place I can think of and each hole already has a screw in it. So strange.

I took it for a test drive and I'm shocked at how quiet it is.
Time will tell if my repair will lasts but I'm pretty happy with the way it came out.

Since I had the dash out, I also fixed the following things:
1) the drivers side lower kick panel attaches with one screw and two tabs. It's common for the slots for those tabs to get torn. I fixed that and in fact, used the same method described above. I just smeared on some ABS cement and some fiber glass. I used 2-3 sheets. Once dry I just used an razor blade to cut the hole. Nice and strong repair.

2) one of my seat heater switches fell apart because the plastic locking tab holding it together failed. JBWeld.

3) all my instrument panel bulbs are replaced. So nice to see 1/2 my instrument panel again...

When I read a of the other threads on this subject, a number of people ask if this is a hard job. I didn't feel it was hard at all. In fact I was amazed at how easy it was to disassemble the dash. Yes there are a lot of screws to deal with but everything can be done with a t-25, t-15, 10mm , and 13mm sockets. The repair job (at least with my method) was pretty straight forward. Just some ABS cement and fiberglass sheets. I will admit though that I was blessed with one thing that made this job go easier: time.

This S70 is my family's third car and I could take my time with the job and not have to worry about needing the car for something urgent. If I had to let it sit for a day or two it was no big deal. I realize that not everyone has that luxury. However, now that I have this experience, I could do it easily in a weekend. For anyone thinking about doing this job, it does take time but I would no clssify this as difficult.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Andy



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Re: Report on dash mount repair

Post by Clemens » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:54 pm

Great writeup! Thanks for sharing.


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Re: Report on dash mount repair

Post by rspi » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:54 am

I recently replaced another dash on an 850, the person before me destroyed it and half of the hardware was missing. Took me about 5 hours, a lot longer than I thought. I believe it's best not to leave these things unfinished for to long.

I also have a hard time getting the main mounting outer bolts in after installing the aluminum straps. Next time I'm going to use thinner steel straps, hopefully that will help.

Good job, hope it last at least 10 years.


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Re: Report on dash mount repair

Post by abscate » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:44 am

If I had to let it sit for a day or two it was no big deal. I realize that not everyone has that luxury.
With ride sharing coming to smaller cities, and even cheap weekend rentals from Enterprise et al, you can even work on a daily driver and use alternate transportation well under independent labor rates.


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Re: Report on dash mount repair

Post by bmdubya1198 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:59 am

Nice job! I need to do this on my car soon. I need to get another lower dash though. I have a slice in mine next to my radio that was my own fault from trimming vinyl that I was trying to use to wrap my center stack trim. Believe it or not it was easier to put the wood trim in than wrap the gray stuff...
One more thing on my endless parts list.


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